The Jewish Wedding Model

Excerpt Taken from “Pattern is Prologue” by Chuck Missler

All through the Gospels, Jesus relied on the ancient Jewish wedding pattern for many of His parables, climaxing in His promise in the Upper Room in John 14 (as reviewed in our previous article). Many of us miss the full import of these allusions if we aren’t familiar with the model of ancient Jewish wedding practices.

Jewish Wedding

The first step, the Ketubah, or Betrothal, was the establishment of the marriage covenant, usually when the prospective bridegroom took the initiative and negotiated the price (mohair) he must pay to purchase her.

Once the bridegroom paid the purchase price, the marriage covenant was established, and the young man and woman were regarded as husband and wife. From that moment on, the bride was declared to be consecrated or sanctified – set apart – exclusively for her bridegroom. As a symbol of the covenant relationship that had been established, the groom and bride drank from a cup of wine over which the betrothal had been pronounced.

After the marriage covenant was established, the groom left his bride at her home and returned to his father’s house, where he remained separated from his bride for approximately 12 months. This afforded the bride time to gather her trousseau and prepare for married life.

During this period of separation, the groom prepared a dwelling place in his father’s house to which he would later bring his bride. At the end of the period of separation, the bridegroom came – usually at night – to take his bride to live with him. The groom, the best man, and other male escorts left the father’s house and conducted a torch-light procession to the home of the bride. Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the time of his coming. As a result, the groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, which announced her imminent departure to be gathered with him.

After the groom received his bride, together with her female attendants, the enlarged wedding party returned from the bride’s home to the groom’s father’s house, where the wedding guests had assembled.

Shortly after their arrival, the bride and groom were escorted by the other members of the wedding party to the bridal chamber (huppah). Prior to entering the chamber, the bride remained veiled so that no one could see her face. While the groomsmen and bridesmaids waited outside, the bride and groom entered the bridal chamber alone. There, in the privacy of that place, they entered into physical union for the first time, thereby consummating the marriage that had been covenanted approximately one year earlier.

After the marriage was consummated, the groom came out of the bridal chamber and announced the consummation of the marriage to the members of the wedding party waiting outside. Then, as the groom went back to his bride in the chamber, the members of the wedding party returned to the wedding guests and announced the consummation of the marriage.

Upon receiving the good news, the wedding guests remained in the groom’s father’s house for the next seven days, celebrating with a great wedding feast.18

During the seven days of the wedding feast, the bride and groom remained hidden in the bridal chamber (Cf. Genesis 29:21-23, 27-28) for the seven days of the huppah. Afterwards, the groom came out of hiding, bringing his bride with him, but with her veil removed so that everyone could see her.

The Ultimate Bride

The New Testament portrays the Church as the Bride of Christ in Ephesians 5:22-33 (Paul even quotes Genesis 2:24 as the union at the Parousia of the Bridegroom in v.31!); cf. Romans 7:4; 2 Corinthians 11:2; James 4:4. In the opening verses of John 14, the marriage covenant is confirmed. Paul continually reminds us of the purchase price and the covenant by which we, the Bride, are set apart, or sanctified.

The Departure of the Bridegroom

The Bridegroom has departed, and His return to gather His Bride is imminent. He has gone to prepare a place for you and me. (He has been at it for 2,000 years! It must be a spectacular abode!)

This very doctrine of “imminence” is taught throughout the New Testament and is a cornerstone of the “pre-tribulational” view: there is no event which is a prerequisite condition for His gathering of His Bride.

Full article and references:

I Thought I Knew My Bible


Yes, I thought I knew my Bible
Reading piecemeal, hit or miss

Now a part of John or Matthew
Then a bit of Genesis

Certain chapters of Isaiah
Certain psalms, the twenty third.

First of Proverbs, twelfth of Romans
Yes, I thought I knew the Word

But I found that thorough reading
Was a different thing to do

And the way was unfamiliar
When I read my Bible through.

You who like to play at Bible
Dip and dabble here and there

Just before you kneel all weary
Yawning through a hurried prayer.

You who treat this crown of writings
As you treat no other book

Just a paragraph disjointed
Just a crude impatient look.

Try a worthier procedure
Try a broad and steady view;

You will kneel in awesome wonder
When you read the Bible through, and through, and through.

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness


I think it is laughable that so-called “reformed” thinkers accuse anyone who is not an hyper-five-point-calvanist of being an “un-reformed” promoter of a “man-centered” gospel.

These are folks who regularly demonstrate their ignorance of history and lack of understanding about what the reformation was about. Thier brand of theology would accuse even Calvin of not being “calvanist enough”.

One of the “last straws” that kicked off the Reformation was about trying to reform the Catholic Church and stop practices such as people buying “indulgences” from priests (paying money for forgiveness of sin).

The reformation was a reaction against the abuses of the Roman Catholic church, and the writings of the reformers reflect this.

Here’s a quick timeline to consider:

1384 – Wycliffe English Bible
1509 – John Calvin born
1517 – Martin Luther’s “Nintey-Five Theses”
1536 – Calvin’s reform work begins, publishes “Institues of the Christian Religeon”
1542-1546 – Calvin’s Reign of Terror in Geneva
1564 – John Calvin dies
1610 – Five articles of Remonstrance
1619 – Five Points of Calvinism

The Five Articles of Remonstrance were a reaction to hyper-calvanism.

The Five Points of Calvanism were a reaction to the Five Articles of Remonstrance.

As with anything that is “a reaction to something”, all to often exaggerated statements are used in order to emphasize distinction.

Typically this is not too much of a problem unless people baseline their reasoning on these exaggerated statements instead of on scripture alone.

Folks all too often veer away from one ditch only to land themselves into another ditch.

The best thing to do, is put away all pre-conceived notions and “traditions of men” and just read the Bible and follow what scripture says.

Mark 7:8-9
“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men-—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”

Mark 7:13 “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Colossians 2:8
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

[NOTE: Interestingly enough the Five Points of Calvanism did not come about until over 100 years after the start of the Reformation. Many modern “reformational thinkers” act as if Calvin (or at least their idealized understanding of Calvin) was the only reformer, when in fact there were many. Of course Calvin was the only one to become a theocratic dicator of his own city-state where he oversaw the execution of 58 people–many just for being critical of his “Institutes of the Christian Religeon”. So, that may have something to do with it. Interesting that while other reformers were willing to die for what they believed, Calvin was willing to kill for what he believed…]